If you’re reading this blog, you’re not alone.
The legal profession, it turns out, is becoming inundated with law blogs. It only takes a quick Google search to realize all your major competitors have a blog for their firm.
According to a recently-released survey of social media in the legal sector by LexisNexis and Vizibility, 81 percent of survey participants reporting they already use social media marketing tools and another 10.1 percent saying they plan to deploy social media marketing elements within six months.
With so much interest and activity flurries within the legal blogging world, you may be surprised to find that this new industry is still fairly unstructured.
When asked, “Does your firm have a social media policy or guidelines for social media,” however, only 61.2 percent of legal professionals responded yes.
And, a small niche of lawyers continues to rebuff smartphones in 2011. At least 12 percent do not use a Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or other smartphone in their business, including scanning QR codes.
So, to those 30.8 percent of legal professionals who find social media to be extremely important to their firm’s overall marketing strategy (and the 48.8 percent who admit it’s somewhat important), here are three ways to propel your firm forward into the world wide web of successful social media users and profiteers.
1. Formulate a strategy
It’s a legitimate and smart step toward success to start a blog for your law firm. However, what next?
Many firms are stymied when it comes to creating a social media strategy. These days, companies (like this one) are available to walk you through the process.
Or, for “do it yourself” firms, come up with a game plan and series of goals for your social media use. Is the primary purpose recruitment? If so, gear your law firm articles toward law school students. Have your first-year associates control the content to keep it pertinent to the generation.
Is the main goal of your blog to attract new clients? If so, perhaps a managing partner or firm administrator should be the major contributor. Write about key case wins and other newsworthy successes. Add interesting profiles and photos of your most promising attorneys to garner attention from the outside world seeking counsel.
Allow third-parties to subscribe to your blog or newsletter, and aim its content toward business ideas or legal developments that would be of interest to your prospective clients and also ones that will show off your firm’s expertise.
2. Implement guidelines
Not only should your firm create a social media strategy, but it should also write a social media policy.
Social media policies should explain to associates expectations for their participation on sites, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.
What is your stance on associates having personal blogs? There’s nothing to stop free speech in this country, but you can certainly address for associates how your firm would like its image to be portrayed on the Internet.
3. Encourage associates to use social media
As the aforementioned survey details, social media has infiltrated the legal profession. Used as a marketing strategy, firms benefit from having their name saturating the digital world.
Encourage your associates to belong to these networking sites. Or, to blog about their experience with the firm. The Internet is undoubtedly the first place that prospective clients and new employees will look to be introduced to your firm.
Robert Ambrogi, legal blogger, writes about the trend on LawSites, ”For readers of blogs, there is a coming feast of abundance. For writers of blogs, the game is on to produce quality, thoughtful posts that will keep your blog from drowning.”
Don’t keep your acclaim or successes a secret. If your firm is part of the 19 percent who have yet to use social media as a marketing tool, it’s not too late to start today.
Attend one of the Center For Competitive Management’s courses on social media, including “Developing a Social Media Policy: Clear Guidelines to Prevent or Reduce Employment-Related Problems.”